By BosNewsLife Europe Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
LONDON, BRITAIN (BosNewsLife)– A former prison chaplain who was allegedly fired after 20 years of service for his Christian faith claims inmates in a British prison are forced to convert to Islam.
Pastor Paul Song, who volunteered to help rehabilitate violent offenders at the Brixton men’s prison in South London, said some people were pressured to convert in exchange for protection from gangs. “Three or four people came up to me to tell me that Muslims, like gangsters, forced them and beat them to become Muslim,” he explained in video footage seen by BosNewsLife.
The footage was released by Christian advocacy group Christian Concern which deals with his case. Song suggested that head chaplain Imam Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed, who was appointed in 2015, also opposed Christianity.
Song, 48, was dismissed by the imam without explanation in August of last year.
The prison management reportedly told him a month later there had been “allegations of misconduct”, including accusations from an inmate that he had called him a “terrorist” and made reference to the Islamic State group.
These charges were rejected by Song, who was born in South Korea and worked as a police officer in Seoul. “This is unfair because I never had problems under the previous Anglican chaplain.” He said that under the Muslim chaplain all 14 “evangelical groups” were eventually forced to end their activities behind bars.
“I was the last person to work inside. But I couldn’t work there anymore from last year, August 2017. ”
The emotionally charged pastor said his work had helped transform the lives of prisoners. “Many Christian prisoners are hungry and thirsty for the Word of the Lord. They asked me: ‘can you pray for me?’ ‘Can you give the scripture,” Song recalled.
He made clear that Imam Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed and several Muslim inmates were angry about the spread of Christianity in prison. “In the 21st century, Muslims in prison use force to convert people to their religion. Not many people know that.”
At least one prisoner signed a statement attesting to Song’s claim after being released in 2015, The Sunday Express newspaper reported.
In separate remarks Song, said that hundreds of prisoners, including former drugs dealers and murderers, changed their lives after working with him and other Christians.
Britan’s Prison and Probation Service declined to “comment on individual members” of staff. “However, we recognize the importance of faith and the positive impact that it can have on the lives of offenders.”
Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre supports his efforts to clear his name: “Paul’s work has led to many prisoners in Brixton turning their lives around. It is shocking prisoners who are desperate for a new way of life should now be prevented from seeing Paul.”
It comes amid a broader debate about the role of Christian faith in British workplaces, following several incidents in which devoted Christians were dismissed, BosNewsLife established.